I don’t believe it would be good for Saskatchewan to “host” a nuclear waste dump. And there are indications that most Saskatchewan people feel the same way. Past polls have shown widespread opposition to bringing nuclear wastes here, and 80% of those participating in the Uranium Development Partnership (UDP) consultations in 2009 opposed a nuclear dump. But we know that popular democracy doesn’t necessarily win out in these David and Goliath conflicts. So what are the main challenges those wanting a nuclear waste ban will face?
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There are many people across Saskatchewan that worry that a First Nations or Métis community will make a private deal with industry to create a nuclear dump in the province. This raises fundamental issues about protecting Aboriginal and Treaty Rights and Canada’s democracy. It’s therefore a good time to refresh our memories about what national Aboriginal groups have said about this matter. Here I will look at the Assembly of First Nations (AFN); however the Métis Council of Canada (MCC) has said similar things.
The FSIN taking $1,000,000 from the industry-based Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has put nuclear waste back in the news. And apparently the Métis Nation has also taken hundreds of thousands of NWMO money. What does it mean that both large Aboriginal organizations have gone this far? Do they seriously believe that an industry-funded “information” campaign can create informed consent about a nuclear dump in Saskatchewan?
The threat from a nuclear dump would be gigantic. To transport the 1.8 million spent fuel bundles totaling 40,000 tonnes that had accumulated in eastern Canada by 2004 would require thousands of truckloads over several decades. And the industry estimates that double this amount, 3.6 million fuel bundles, will be created by the time existing nuclear plants are shut down. With less than 200 fuel